GoalsOnTrack Blog

A systematic approach to achieving goals and getting results.

7 Little Habits That Can Change Your Life, and How to Form Them

By Leo Babauta

If you could just pick one or two (or seven) habits to create in the next few months — habits that will have the most impact on your life — what would they be?

I often get asked this question, because people are overwhelmed when it comes to starting positive life changes.

They ask me: what one or two habits should they start with?
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Art of Self Motivation Despite Failures

By Vivek Bindra

Road to success is through the mountain of failures, even a kid who is learning to walk falls 10 times to take few proper steps. This is the first ever lesson that humanity took from life experiences to succeed, the perseverance to achieve a goal has led to development of human race where we have passed various ages like stone, bronze, iron etc.

Cowering before failure is not the solution when you are looking to do something new, you  just need to find another new reason to stand up and fill new shades in the canvas of life. One who never stops seeking opportunities to fulfill his/her dream ever fails.
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How to Prioritize, Pursue Goals, and Focus When You Have Many Interests

By Antoine Ribordy

“A man who limits his interests, limits his life.” ~Vincent Price

I can’t stay still.

As a kid, I ran around, misbehaving, climbing everywhere—I was a nightmare for my parents, teachers, and anyone who had to take care of me. One year, my behavior assessment report at school stated: “Leaves a lot to be desired.”

Through my teenage years, I suddenly quieted down. But my mind didn’t go silent; it still boils inside.

I crave stimuli. Any time I have a couple of minutes on my own, while waiting in the car or in a queue, for example, I take my phone out and start reading. Or I take notes, whatever keeps my mind busy. Read more

I Never Achieve My Goals on the First Attempt

By Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a woman in my late 20s. While working part-time, I’m studying with the aim to take the national bar examination. I’m worried because I haven’t been able to achieve my goals the first time I attempt them. Read more

4 Ways Successful People Get More Out of Their Careers

By Marguerite Ward

The happiest and most motivated professionals are often those who have found meaning in their work, psychological research shows.

But finding a sense of purpose is easier said than done.

According to a national Gallup poll, only 30 percent of professionals feel engaged at work, which leaves 70 percent that feel apathetic or disinterested.

Career and leadership experts, supported by a growing body of workplace research, know that there are multiple ways to start taking control of your career.

Here are 4 ways successful people get the most out of their work life:
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10 Steps to Successful Goal Setting

By Bradley Foster

As a life and executive coach I work with a lot of people on their goals. Setting goals puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you the power to transform your life or take a company into the future. As enticing as that sounds, it is more common than not those goals are abandoned. To be successful, check your goals against my ten steps to help ensure you accomplish them. Read more

Reach Any Goal: How to Strengthen Your Willpower

By Maura Kelly

Turns out that for years, we’ve been going about our resolutions all wrong. That’s because we didn’t really understand what willpower is. It’s not a magical force we summon up only when we’re trying to diet or kick our butts into workout mode. Read more

How to Strengthen Your Willpower

Turns out that for years, we’ve been going about our resolutions all wrong. That’s because we didn’t really understand what willpower is. It’s not a magical force we summon up only when we’re trying to diet or kick our butts into workout mode. Instead, willpower is something we call on throughout the day, every day, to help us decide between the black pants and the blue ones, for instance, or to try to tune out our cubicle mate’s phone conversation so we can get our work done. “Any act that requires self-control requires willpower,” explains Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, a professor of psychology at Florida State University and a coauthor of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

Unfortunately we have only a certain amount of willpower in any 24-hour period, and it tends to be strongest at the beginning of the day. “Willpower depends on your body’s energy supply, which generally peaks in the morning,” Baumeister says. The more we use it, the weaker it gets.

And, boy, do we put willpower through its paces: We spend three hours a day struggling to resist temptations like eating, surfing the Web, and spending money, according to a new study by Baumeister. That process leaves us physically and emotionally drained, says Kelly McGonigal, PhD, a health psychologist at Stanford University and the author of The Willpower Instinct. “The brain uses more energy to curb your impulses than it does to perform other mental tasks,” she explains.

The good news is that you can conserve your willpower and use it to reach your goals, not squander it on the small stuff. Here are six smart techniques for doing just that.

Find your focus.

Blaring TVs. People talking. E-mail and text alerts. We live and work in really noisy environments, which makes it hard to concentrate. And the more we try to tune out the cacophony, the more willpower we use up. The simple solution: Eliminate distractions rather than trying to ignore them, McGonigal says. Help yourself focus at work by using earplugs (or closing your office door if you have one), turning off your cell phone ringer, and silencing e-mail notifications. And don’t listen to your iPod on the job. A 2011 study found that subjects who were asked to memorize information while listening to music scored worse on a test than those who had memorized in silence. “A better strategy is to use music to rev up your mood, energy, and productivity and then switch it off,” McGonigal says.

Eat for energy.

The more often you consume good-for-you food, the more willpower you’ll have. Studies show that people whose blood sugar (aka glucose) is elevated to a healthy level, as it is after regular meals, have more self-control and can more easily resist junk food. “When your blood sugar is low, it’s harder to control your impulses,” McGonigal says. Need an immediate willpower boost? “Some baby carrots or a handful of raisins will do the trick,” she says. These foods are naturally high in sugar and will raise your glucose supply almost instantly, helping fuel your brain. Even better, to keep yourself willpowered all day, eat healthy meals or snacks every four hours. Choose foods that have a combo of protein, fiber, and complex carbs, like a salad with tofu, nuts, spinach, and tomatoes, or Greek yogurt with fruit.

Plan ahead.

Cut down on the number of decisions you have to make every day and your willpower muscle will automatically get stronger. “Studies show that after you reach a decision, your self-control is worse, and after you exert self-control, you get worse at making decisions,” Baumeister says. So get to work right now at reducing the number of choices you have to make in any 24-hour period. On Sunday, plan your workouts for the week and put them in the calendar on your phone. Every few months, pull together five to 10 outfits for work so you don’t start off each day agonizing over what to wear.

Top Ten Ways to Stay Focused on Your Goals and Objectives

Written by Tracy Brinkmann

Achieving your goals is much like pushing a car; you cannot work hard for a day or two and then stop. Pick up your goal again later and work for a day or two and then stop again. You need to put for the consistent effort that will get those wheels rolling. Then once you have that 1200-pound monster rolling forward at a good speed all you need to do is keep putting forth a little consistent effort. With this type of consistency you will reach your goals far faster than with the start and stop method so many people practice these days.

Here are ten of the ways you can focus that consistent effort to get even more out of the effort you put forth. I have found these ‘techniques’ very useful and honestly believe that if you put them to work for you that you too will reap their rewards.

1. Write your primary goals down. There is something that happens when you put pen to paper and write out your goals. It seems to activate your mind and your goals become ‘written’ into your sub-conscious, making your more aware of situations, people and events that will bring you to your goals faster.

2. Re-write your top tens goals daily. Each day re-write your top ten goals without looking at your previous lists. This process accomplishes two things.

a. Deeply imbeds your high priority goal into your sub-conscious.

b. Weeds out those goals that are really important TODAY. Those goals that are not truly high on your long-term priority list will not consistently remain in your top ten lists. This will help you focus on what is truly important rather than those whims all fall victim to.

3. Narrow your focus – by focusing on only a few goals at a time. Pick those goals that are truly yours and your hearts deepest desire. Then focus all your efforts like a laser beam upon their completion. Take the top ten and zero in on those three to five goals that mean the most to you. The three to five goals that you know you have the deepest desire to achieve.

4. Develop an action plan. Once you have determined what you want to accomplish you must now begin to lay out how you will go about accomplishing it. What skills do you need to develop? What contacts do you need to make? What steps do you need to take to get your from where you are today to where you are trying to get? Be aware that your plans may change as you go along gaining new insights and information. But you need to have a plan in order to know what comes next. The knowledge of what your going to do next will do wonders to keep you focused.

5. Envision your goal already achieved. The great achievers of yesterday and today all had one key-ability – the ability to see their goal as already accomplished. Be detailed in your vision of your goal; feel the pride of its accomplishment. What will your friends and associates say once you have reached your goal? The more detail and emotion you can insert into the vision of your accomplishment the more that vision will drive you towards its accomplishment.

6. Empower yourself with affirmations. When take the time daily to write down your top ten goals, write them as present tense personal affirmations. I.e. “I weigh 160 pounds,” rather than “I want to lose weight.” Or “I earn $10,000 a month,” rather than writing “I want to earn more money.” Then read these goals aloud. Stand tall; hold your shoulders straight and your head high. Then in a firm positive voice read your goals aloud. This will ignite the passions and pride within you. The passion to achieve your goal and the pride of what it will feel like to reach it.

7. Take daily action, no matter how small. Do not let a day go by that you do not take some sort of step towards your goal. This is where your consistency will pay big. Do not let the 1200-pound car stop rolling or your will have to push even harder just to get it moving again. Break your large goals down into smaller tasks and work one those tasks daily until complete.

8. Track your progress. You cannot effectively see that which you do not track, and you cannot change that which you cannot see. Create ways to see how far you are towards reaching your goal. Create charts and timelines so that you will see when you are falling behind or pulling ahead – make adjustments to your plans as necessary. A program like Microsoft Project is great for this, but use anything that will motivate you by allowing you to see where are along your road to success.

9. Celebrate Milestones. Another great reason to track your progress is so that you can set and celebrate your milestones. All large goals are made-up of smaller goals and milestones that you need to recognize and pat yourself on the back once you complete them. As you reach each of the milestones, applaud yourself. Pause to feel the accomplishment. As you savor this triumph you will believe more strongly that you will in fact reach your goal.

10. Network and surround yourself with a group of like-minded people. Surround yourself with those that will not only encourage your accomplishments but challenge you towards them as well. None of us will accomplish any big goal alone. You are going to need assistance from others.

Any time that I have put all ten of these techniques to work for me at the same time – I have reached my goal far faster than I could have imagined. Any one of these alone are a way to reach your goal faster but I would highly encourage you to put all ten of these steps in action today. If you do I know I will be hearing about your success in the very near future.

How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

By Scott H Young

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to just get things done? They don’t need “productivity hacks” or GTD and procrastination is a foreign word to them. These people have a reliable work ethic.

A work ethic is a set of values based on the ideals of hard work and discipline. Building a reliable work ethic means training yourself to follow these values. Training yourself so that work becomes automatic instead of a struggle.

Constructing Habits

A work ethic is based on habits. Persistence, focus, “do it now,” and “do it right” are the key habits in building a dependable work ethic. Here are some steps for building those habits:

Forming the Persistence Habit

The first part of a reliable work ethic is persistence. If you quickly burn out after only a short period of work or you can’t stay focused on a task for long, you lack persistence. Building persistence is like building endurance for a race, slowly training yourself to work harder for longer periods of time.

Persistence should always be balanced with periods of rest. Working twelve hours straight won’t usually be the most effective strategy even if your work ethic is strong. But training yourself to work longer can help you if you need to and it makes working shorter periods of time easier.

Here are some tips:

Measure Yourself - Figure out how long you can work effectively. Measure how long it takes before you slow down or give up. Measurement can be a source for improvement.

Run a Burnout Day - Try working longer for one day, following it with a lighter day afterwards. By stretching your focus for longer periods once in a while you can boost your persistence for normal days.

Do an Extra 20% - When you feel like quitting, go an extra 20%. If you’ve been working intensely for three hours but are feeling the desire to stop, try another forty minutes before taking a break.

Forming the Focus Habit

Even more critical than persistence is focus. A car going 70 mph for one hour will go further than a car going 10 mph for six. Focusing all your energies for even a short period of time can be tiring, but combined with persistence it is a powerful ability to have.

Here are some tips for forming the focus habit:

Timebox - Give yourself 60-90 minutes to work on a particular task. During that time you can’t rest or engage in any distractions.

Accelerate - It can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to build up a concentrated focus. Give yourself time to accelerate into a focused state.

Cut Distractions - Practice the habit of turning off all outside noise. Phones, e-mail, RSS, Twitter and visitors should be shut out while trying to focus.

Forming the “Do It Now” Habit

Don’t let yourself procrastinate. Having a strong work ethic means having the phrase “do it now” as a constant hum in the background. Time for leisure is fine, but if you are trying to work make sure the only thing you are doing is work. Don’t let yourself procrastinate when you still have an unfinished to-do list.

Do it Now for 30 Days - Kill the procrastination bug for good. For the next thirty days define periods of your day you want to devote to work or personal projects. During those periods of time, remind yourself of the “do it now” phrase and get working whenever you feel the urge to procrastinate.

Forming the “Do it Right” Habit

The final aspect of getting things done is doing them properly. Sloppy work, hastily finishing things or spending too little time working out details leads to poor quality. If you aren’t going to do something properly, it’s probably not a good idea to do it at all.

Perfectionism isn’t necessary for many tasks, but most things require a minimum standard of quality. Writing code without useful variable names or documentation. Graphics with merged layers. Articles filled with spelling and grammatical errors. The “do it right” habit means actively slowing yourself down slightly to fix problems before they occur.

Here are some tips:

Separate Creation and Criticism - Ideas require mess. Solving a programming problem or writing an article often requires that you first let go of your need for perfection. But once you’ve finished the idea, you should separate a specific time for clean-up afterwards.

Measure Twice, Cut Once - For tasks that don’t have an Undo feature, take extra care in doing them properly the first time.

Set Two Deadlines - Avoid analysis paralysis by setting two deadlines. One to complete the task, and another to review and polish the work. With two deadlines you won’t stumble into the trap of perfectionism, but you won’t hastily finish something that isn’t ready.

Sit on It - If you’ve hit a milestone in a task or project, take a few minutes to work on something else. When you come back you can use a fresh perspective to tweak problems.

Using the Habits

What’s the point of building a work ethic in the first place? I can’t comment on your job, but if you don’t feel a natural desire to get more done and work harder, you are probably in the wrong line of work. Doing the absolute minimum and laziness might seem like an ideal solution if your working at a job you hate. But if you are involved in a job or personal project you love, having a work ethic means you get to create, accomplish and provide even more.

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